" Sois mon frere, ou je te tue," Chamfort once cynically suggested as
the slogan for the Jacobins. But the Jacobins were children in comparison
with the Bolsheviks and when the latter came into power they swore to
avoid the errors of the French Revolution., which had brought it to a halt
in the sea of bourgeois mud. ' Mildness/ in the opinion of the Kremlin,
was the first of these errors (see Vol. I, p. 45), and so they undertook to
c purge ' their own country and to * clean-up ' any newly conquered one
with a lightning speed and severity. The ancient methods of Russian
Imperialism fitted them extraordinarily well for this task. In 19445 i&
Poland their work was., as in 1939-41, again carried out under the slogans
of c 'Slav brotherhood ' which merely embraced every possible means in
the process of extermination.
Behind the c Curzon Line ' in Eastern Poland, the action was effected
by mass conscription and deportation, which-, in its final phases., was called
the c transfer of population.' The Poles were to be sent westward to
central Poland., and the Lithuanians., Ukrainians and White Ruthenians,
who could be found in central Poland, eastward. According to the Soviet
statements, it was to be an entirely voluntary affair. The option to be
transferred was given up to 1st December, 1944. The number of people
who came under the transfer scheme might be appraised at over four
million peopleóbut., after the deportations effected by the Russians
between 1939-41 and continued afterwards by the Germans., any real
estimate was out of the question.
The transfer was nothing less than a repetition of Hitler's action,
started in Poland after it had been incorporated into the Reich in 1939,
when the Poles were replaced by the Germans coining from the U.S.S.R.,
and the Baltic States and Bessarabia then occupied by the Russians. It
was a pendant to the racial policy of Hitler which had its climax in the
destruction of the Jewish race in order to make German-occupied Europe
* Judenrein,5 but here, instead of Jews., Stalin was expelling the Poles.
By 15th April, 1945, Eastern Poland was to be " Polenfrei."
The circumstances for mass transfer of population were not of the best.
The Russian Army was in control of the Polish railways, and, to begin
with, there were no trains available for such a gigantic removal. Never-
theless, Russia's procedure of deporting unwanted elements was continued
throughout the winter of i944-45? when thousands were packed into empty
trains returning from the front line and sent to an unknown destination
in Russia. A number of Poles living near thee Ribbentrop-Molotov Line *
were simply expelled from their houses and driven westward with an
order not to return. The amount of human misery entailed by such
action^ in a country almost as big as Great Britain, this driving the people
from the east to the west and vice versa, cannot be easily visualised.
Those who were sent to Russia became fodder for N.K.V JX labour camps,
those who were expelled to Central Poland, partially occupied at that time
by the Red Army, found themselves in dire straits since there was no food